Leyla Raiani
Apr 27, 2012

Compound reduces autism-like behaviors in mice

National Institutes of Health researchers have reversed behaviors in mice resembling two of the three core symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. An experimental compound, called GRN-529, increased social interactions and lessened repetitive self-grooming behavior in a strain of mice that normally display such autism-like behaviors. GRN-529 is part of a class of agents that inhibit activity of some brain receptors for the chemical messenger glutamate. Similar compounds are already being tested in clinical trials for patients with an autism-related syndrome. Although mouse brain findings often don't translate to humans, the fact that  compounds similar to GRN-529 are already in clinical trials for an overlapping condition strengthens the case for relevance, according to the researchers. The findings suggest a strategy for developing a single treatment that could target multiple diagnostic symptoms.